December 17, 2012

Foundation Day 2012 at Mercy International Centre (MIA)

Foundation Day celebrations at Mercy International Centre offered a number of ways to celebrate. On this historic 12-12-12 date, the 181st anniversary of the Founding of the Sisters of Mercy, and Feast of Our Lady of Guadalupe (patron of the Americas), over 90 sisters, associates, partners in ministry and friends of Mercy gathered for liturgy, lunch and an icon exhibition.

First on the agenda was a noon liturgy. In the midst of this liturgy, two women from Tipperary - Mary Casey and Margaret Fahey - made their first covenant commitment as Mercy associates. They were to be joined by a third person who has prepared to become an associate, Chrissie Harney, but a member of Chrissie's family for whom she is the caregiver became ill.

 Mary Casey, Mairead Ryan rsm, Margaret Fahey, and Alice Roach of Tipperary. Mary and Margaret made their first covenant commitment as associates in the Foundation Day liturgy. Mairead and Alice have been accompanying them on this journey.

These women have been accompanied on their journey by Mairead Ryan rsm. All Sisters of Mercy present renewed their vows, and associates, Circle of Mercy members and partners in ministry were invited to renew their commitment to a Mercy   way of life.

The readings selected for this celebration included the prophecy of God through Jeremiah: 'I know the plans I have for you says the Lord' (Jer 29:11-14), Catherine's retreat instructions exhorting us to have a cheerful, happy countenance and a grateful heart directed toward God, and the Annunciation when the angel tells Mary that God has found favour with her (Luke 1:26-38).

Scholasticah Nganda rsm, a member of the Central Leadership Team for the Congregation of Sisters of Mercy, provided the reflection on these readings and offered challenging questions for all to ponder. She invited us to reflect on where we have found hope this past week in our country, our place of ministry, our home, our community. Some of her questions are even more poignant in the aftermath of the senseless killing of women and children in Connecticut this week; Scholasticah asks:

Do we have the faith to see God’s purpose being worked out even in the tragedies, the difficulties and the ruins of our lives? Must we say in the midst of difficult times, rising cases of murder and suicides, millions of women and children trafficked, the economic mess we have, that God is absent? Or can we see the caring, and gracious hand of God even during difficult times?

Liturgy was followed by a luncheon in the dining room and an icon exhibition in the International Room. The icon exhibition was organized by the Association of Iconographers of Ireland in loving memory of iconographer Sr Carmel Murtagh rsm, who died a year ago on 30 December 2011. Twenty four icons were on display, including the work of Sisters Carmel Murtagh rsm (RIP), Rose Hogan rsm, Rosaleen Hogan rsm, and Mary Connaughton rsm.
Iconographer Rosaleen Hogan rsm explaining some elements found in an icon on display

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